What is Google's Reputation Score? A Method for Modified Self-Regulation of Search
Joseph M. Mercadante
Seton Hall University - School of Law
Search engines have evolved along with the internet, and now control massive amounts of data that they often manipulate. In addition to these deceptive search practices, search engines are currently facing a slew of trademark lawsuits from owners of protected marks as well as criticism from privacy scholars. As gateways to the modern formulation of the internet, search engines resemble a bottleneck for internet traffic ideally suited for a streamlined regulatory approach to cure the current woes of search.
This paper proposes a method of modified self regulation where search engines are required to create a feedback system for their search results not unlike eBay's reputation scores or Slashdot's comment and moderation system, effectively giving the community of users the ability to rate the relevance of search results, rather than a black-box algorithm. This, of course, would not be done without legislation. The simplest way to accomplish this feedback regime would be to require search engines to implement it or else lose their immunities provided under §230 of the Communications Decency Act and §512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which currently immunize search engines for torts that are committed by sites to which they link.
Once a feedback regime is implemented, search engines would no longer be able to misrank search results, return results for counterfeit goods, or link to a false story damaging a person's reputation without being noticed, talked about, and rated by the watchful eye of the online community.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: search engines, intellectual property, privacy, trademark, self-regulationworking papers series
Date posted: April 10, 2008
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